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Photo Credit:  Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Leah Nanako Winkler is a Japanese American playwright from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington Kentucky. Her plays include Kentucky (2015 Kilroys List/ World premiere:  Ensemble Studio Theatre in coproduction with Page 73 and the Radio Drama Network.  West Coast Premiere: East West Players  ) Two Mile Hollow (2017 Kilroys List, Now in a simultaneous world premiere w/ Artists At Play in La, Mixed Blood/Theater Mu in Minneapolis, First Floor Theater in Chicago and Ferocious Lotus in SF) , Death For Sydney Black (terraNova Collective, Thinking Cap Theater, 2014 Kilroys Honorable Mention)  Diversity Awareness Picnic (Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Superlab, 2014 Kilroys Honorable Mention),  Double Suicide At Ueno Park (EST/Marathon 2015), Linus and Murray (EST/Marathon 2017)  and more.

Her new play God Said This premiered at the 42nd Humana Festival of New American Plays in 2018. It will premiere Off-Broadway at Primary Stages in 2019 and recently received the 2018 Yale Drama Series Prize.  

Leah’s work has been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Clubbed Thumb, WP Theater, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, The Bushwick Starr, The Flea Theater, Primary Stages and more. She presented plays with her now defunct theater company Everywhere Theatre Group from 2006-2012 at places like the New Ohio Theatre, The Brick Theatre, Dixon Place, the Ontological Hysteric Theater/Incubator Arts Project and the Prelude Festival.

Leah’s collections of short plays, Nagoriyuki & Other Short Plays and The Lowest Form Of Writing are currently available on here and are performed widely in the US, France and Asia. Other publications include Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews, Yale University Press,  Smith and Krauss, Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service.

She has served on the faculty of New Group’s Urban Arts Initiative,  ESPA at Primary Stages and the Writer’s Foundry at St. Joseph’s College, as well as teaching as a guest artist at schools around the country.

Leah is an alumnus of Youngblood at the Ensemble Studio Theater, terraNova Groundbreakers Playwrights Group and the Dorothy Strelsin New American Playwrights Group at Primary Stages.

She is a 2016-2018 Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Theater, a labbie at Ma Yi, and a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre.  She was a 2017 Ucross fellow with the Sundance Institute. Commissions include Mu Performing Arts,  WP Theater, EST/SLOAN and Yale Rep.

Recently, Leah was awarded the first-ever Mark O’Donnell Prize from The Actors Fund and Playwrights Horizons.  She is also currently one of the inaugural recipients of a commission from Audible’s Emerging Playwrights Fund and was named the 2017-2019 Jerome New York Fellow at the Lark.  She  is a writer on  A24’s Ramy upcoming on Hulu and Michael Moore’s TV NATION.  She attended Tates Creek High School and has a MFA from Brooklyn College. The New York Times called her a “distinctive new voice.”


Follow her @leahnanako.